Friday, August 14, 2009

H1N1 update: EU health authorities agree on common approach

EU health authorities agree on common approach to H1N1 flu

BRUSSELS, Aug 13 — The European Union (EU) Health Security Committee has agreed on a coordinated EU approach to the Influenza A/H1N1, the European Commission said Thursday.

China's Xinhua news agency reported that the committee has adopted two policy statements on public health measures, which set out a common approach on what kind of school closures may be most appropriate to protect public health, and how to balance freedom of movement and public health protection for travellers with flu symptoms.

The European Commission, the executive body of the EU, proposed the statements as part of the broader strategic planning for coordinated efforts in the EU in fighting the A/H1N1 flu.

In the statement on school closures, the committee says there is no need to enact preemptive mass school closures at present.

Decisions on school closures are the sole responsibility of each EU member state based on the epidemiological situation in each country, it says.

In the statement concerning travel, the committee provides a set of options on what to do in a situation where a traveller falls ill before or during travel, adding that the overriding public health recommendation to symptomatic individuals remains to delay travel and stay at home.

However, this public health recommendation should not lead to restriction of movement at the EU borders and travel restrictions between EU member states, it says.

The EU Health Security Committee, established in 2001, was given the responsibility to exchange information on health-related threats and to share information and experience on preparedness and response plans and crisis management strategies.

The committee is chaired by the European Commission and consists of officials from EU member states. – Bernama

No comments: